Current Favorites- Winter Edition

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I love reading favorite's posts but every time I try to compile one on a monthly basis I realize that I do not really switch up my favorites that often. If I like a product enough to make it in my personal favorites, chances are that I'll still be loving it for a long while. So instead I'm compiling a seasonal edition including products that I have been loving lately. I also didn't want to limit myself to solely beauty products but rather expand the list to also take into account other things that I have been enjoying as well so as to make it more accurate. 

Marc Jacobs lip pencil in Prim (rose). I love this both with on its own as well as under lipstick. It's the perfect nude shade. Not too pink not too brown. 

Marc Jacobs lipstick in 216 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. This has been my go to lipstick and most of the time I'd wear this over the lip pencil mentioned above. This is a deep rosy nude shade that works great with fair complexions. I had quite a rough start with Marc Jacobs makeup line, thanks to Sephora's terrible customer service. But ordeals apart the three products I tried from the brand all turned out to be great. I'm looking forward to explore more of the brand's line. 

Phyto 9 Day Cream. I recently decided to have balayage done to my hair. After a decade of sporting dark hair, switching over to the light side also meant a change in hair care would be due. At this time of the year my hair gets drier. Add that to the light balayage and the dryness is even more evident. So I decided to give this hyped product a go and it worked wonders. I apply a dab of this product on my hair daily from the shoulders down, expect on the days when my hair is freshly washed. I stir away from products that weigh my hair down or feel greasy and this one does neither. It is easily absorbed. Just brush it through and the hair is softer and still feels light. 

Roll on Anti Stress. I love using essential oils but normally for fragrance purposes around the house and not directly on my skin. I decided to give the roll on range by Nature et Decouvert a try and may I say I'm obsessed. I tried two so far and both have been fantastic. These roll ons feature a blend of essential oils that target specific needs. The one pictured is intended as a stress relief oil. These are quite cheap to. All you need to do is dab a bit on the temples and on the wrists. These are very practical and can be easily carried in your bag. 

EOS Lip Balm. I got two of these lip balms just before the brand made headlines in the media for causing severe breakouts and reactions on several people. I was considering not even bothering with these but I gave them a go and am glad I did as they didn't break me out at all. If you follow my blog you might know that I swear by Nuxe lip balms but after trying EOS I have to admit I'm loving these ones too. They are fragrant, moisturizing and the fact that the range has different ones available makes it fun. 

Embryolisse Hydra-Masque. I love the popular Embryolisse moisturizer and wanted to try out something new from the brand. I picked up this face masque and have to say that this will probably be a staple in my routine. This mask is fantastic. It feels really refreshing once applied and after 15 minutes I get a very moisturized and soft skin. 

L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil. I used to swear by this oil back then and went through several bottles of it. I found this mini sized one in the L'Occitane's Advent Calendar and it has rekindled the love I had for this. It smells heavily of almonds and makes the skin very soft. 

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation. I seem to get paler by the day and none of my foundations were being an exact match so I decided to switch it up a bit and try something that would be able to stay put for hours. I was weary this would end up oxidizing on dry patches but it's been perfect. The coverage is heavier than I normally opt but for what its worth I'll take it! This lasts on for hours without having the need to blot or retouch. The only downside is that this doesn't have a pump. 

What most people reading this post do not know is that apart from beauty and fashion I love video games too. Although I'm not a die hard gamer I love having the odd game to unwind to. Unravel has been released very recently. I gave it a go and I've been loving it. This one is only available to purchase on the Play Station store

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Winter, too cold to bother months also mean there's plenty more time indoors to spend watching Netflix. I have been hooked on Modern Family and Better Call Saul. The irony of it all being that I strongly disliked both at the very beginning. Thank God for persistence. I'm hooked!

Coldplay A Head Full of Dreams Vinyl. This has been the album that's been playing the most in this household. Although not a die hard fan of the band I do love their work. I'm loving the artwork on this album too.
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How To Make The Most Out Of Your Cut Flowers

I love having flowers at home. They brighten up the space and make the house smell naturally fresh and make me happier. 

With flower sales reaching a high this Valentine's weekend, one must keep in mind that in order to make the most out of your bouquet one must help the flowers to thrive and prolong their freshness.

If you want to make the most out of your flowers, prolonging their freshness for up 7-10 days here's a few pointers to follow to keep them going strong.
  • If you're know you're picking up flowers yourself it helps to take along a piece of aluminium foil to wrap around the bottom part of the stems to help the flowers keep their freshness until you get home while also avoiding a mess in your bag. 
  • Pop the flowers in the sink until you prep up the setup. 
  • Start by getting one flower first. Measure roughly how tall you want the flower stem to be, depending on the vase you're using. Cut the bottom stem diagonally. In doing so you're helping the stem absorb more water than it would if you were to cut across horizontally. Use a sharp knife to chop off at least half an inch. Make sure the cut is clean. Avoid using scissors to do the job as this will squash and thus damage the stem. 
  • Use the first flower as an aid to cut the rest, so that all the other stems are roughly the same length.
  • Chop of any leaves on the stems that will be immersed in water. This will prevent dispersion of bacteria in the water. 
  • It is much easier to build a bouquet arrangement by holding the bouquet in your hands and not by popping the flowers one by one in the vase. Look from the top of the bouquet to ensure it looks perfect and symmetrical. 
  • Fill the jar with tepid to slighty cold water. Avoid using very cold or hot water as this will unsettle the flowers. 
  • The flowers I purchase normally include a tiny sachet. If your does too mix this solution with the water in the vase. This contains the nutrients that the flowers will need.
If it doesn't than make your own solution:
  1. Flowers need food too. Mix a teaspoon of sugar with the water in the vase.
  2. Add some lemon juice. I use a small chunk of a lemon and squeeze it to make the equivalent of two teaspoons of juice. This will prevent bacteria build up.
  3. Some also add bleach along with or even instead of the lemon juice, but I personally find bleach too harsh and tend to stick to the lemon and it works for keeping the flowers fresh for longer.  
  • Change the water after two or three days, deepening on how cloudy the water is and then repeat the steps above. Remove any dead leaves and flowers to prevent further bacteria. 

This might all sound very cumbersome but once you get used to the routine it it will only take a couple of minutes and will ultimately result in having flowers fresh for longer.

Having read all these pointers keep in mind that not all flowers are the same.

If the flowers in question are tulips than keep on topping up the water in the vase as tulips require a lot more water than then other flowers. Tulips are highly temperamental and are not to be set in a vase with Daffodils.
If you are working with sunflowers, avoid adding the food solution. Sunflowers won't like that.

Other tips for consideration:

  • Choose younger, un-blossomed flowers when purchasing flowers so that they blossom while you're caring for them and enjoy them for longer. 
  • You may choose to cut the stems under running water in order to avoid air penetrating the stem. 
  • Keep the flowers out of direct sunlight and heat. 
  • When you're done with your flowers clean the vase with soapy water and dry well. 

Enjoy your flowers!
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Product Empties- January Edition

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1. Tresemme Hair Spray- Just an average hair spray. Nothing special. Didn't get to finish the can as there are much better hair sprays out there.

2. John Freida Volume Hair Spray- The concept sounds interesting and it truly does give your hair volume but at a cost. The hair just gets to be a sticky greasy mess, I'd just rather not.

3. CHI Straight Guard- Threw this one out. Hardly did much in keeping my hair straight per se.

4. L'Occitane Shampoo and Conditioner with 5 essential oils- It took some time until I got past the essential oil scent. But if you manage to get past that these are quite lovely. Nothing ground breaking but it's nice to switch it up a bit from the usual routine.

5. Lush Beautiful Shower Gel- I'm not a fan of glitter in shower gels, or in anything really, but as I got this a while before the holiday season it made sense to get it at the time. Realistically, I hardly had much glitter residue as it's been easy to rinse it off. Loved the fresh scent. 

6. Avene Gentle Purifying Facial Scrub- I loved this one. It's really gentle yet invigorating and worked well. I did not repurchase solely so that I could try out another scrub by a different brand but i definitely would pick this one up again. 

7. Lierac Tonique Eclat- This is my favorite facial toner. I've gone through a couple of bottles of this one and finally decided to switch it up a bit and not repurchase. I do notice a (negative) difference in my skin when I stop using this one. 

8. Caudalie Grape Water- I have blogged about this before. It's one of my favorite french pharmacy skincare products and a staple in my regime. I've repurchased this one on end and will keep on doing so until I find one that is on par.

9. Nuxe Reve de miel lip balm- I've blogged about this one before too and have mentioned this one as my favorite lip balm. 

10. Cicabiafine- I had seen this brand several times at french pharmacies but never felt the need to try any of the range. I was given a sample which I kept in case I would need to use it. Lucky me I suffered a painful chemical burn on my upper left hand recently. I used Elizabeth Arden's 8 hour cream to ease the burn and its redness and although that is really effective, it is sticky and thus not really great to use for days on a stretch. After the 8 hour cream I then tried this one and was surprised this worked so well and I now need to purchase a full sized one to have at hand. This eased the redness (which was horrible really) in less than two days. Think of this as an ultra potent moisturizer. It's not sticky and felt rather fresh and soothing at the same time. Bless this product!

11.OPI Avojuice Jasmine hand and body cream- I love this range, from the smell to the texture. The only downside that will make me not repurchase again is the fact that this has parabens in it.

12. Crabtree and Evelyn Handcream in Rosewater- I love this brands' hand creams. The texture is more runny than your standard L'Occitane creams but at the same time it is easily absorbed. I was slightly disappointed with the scent tough. I love roses but I picked up this in rosewater and I have to admit that it does smell exactly like rosewater does, so the brand did a good job there but it just didn't really strike my fancy. 

13. L'Occitane shea butter hand creams- I don't opt for the shea butter ones often but I was glad I had these two mini sizes at hand. My hands got really dry this winter and L'Occitane shea butter creams always do a splendid job, with that thick texture to sort out the dryness.

14. Yankee Candle:  Mandarin and Cranberry. I'm normally not a fan of either the two components of this wax tart but the two combined have been wonderful. It's sweet but not overly sweet as one would imagine it might be. It's been a nice scent for winter.
Honey and Spice- This one was just fine, nothing grand. 

15. Essie Bachlorette Bash- I loved this shade. It's deep magenta which surprisingly also fits well in winter as it's not too bright.

16. Benefit Her Glossiness lipglosses- The consistency turned gross so it's time I tossed these. I hadn't reach for these in a long while. Nothing special really.

17. MAC Lipliner- I believe these format of lip liners have been discontinued. The name of this red one had rubbed off and I'm not too sure of the exact shade but one thing I do know for sure- I will not opt for these again. The product it self is so thin and fragile, it kept breaking. I'll have a regular, fuss free pencil any day.No wonder they're discontinued.
MAC Teddy Eyeliner- I loved this. If you're looking for something softer than a harsh black liner give this one a try. It's a brownish bronze-y shade that is perfect for daytime. 
MAC Engraved eye liner- If you're looking for a liner that stays put this one is it. I had to toss this simply because it's such a pain to remove. Even when using Bioderma, there's too much work and tugging involved. Not for me.

18. MAC cream blush in Britwit. The shade itself was fine but I'm not too fond of cream blush. They might look a tad more natural than a powder one would but I just find the whole ordeal gross and messy. Powder blushes please!

19. Barry M Super Shiny Lipgloss- I don't think I even used this once. Bright orange super shiny gloss? what was I thinking? 

20. Dior Diorkiss in Snow Cherry- I liked how un-pigmented this was as it would only give a slight flush, but it's just way to glossy to wear past the age of 15 which I clearly am well over. 

21. Zara Home Green Herbs Incense Sticks- I said this one too many times but I guess I'll say it one more time. I love these! They smell so good and they're a steal at 4 euros a pop. 
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My Top 5 Favorite Fragrances

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5. Stella Nude

Other Mentions

For further information regarding notes, sillage, longevity and other details, I highly recommend you also consult Fragrantica.
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Longchamp Le Pliage St Valentine Edition

After missing out on last Summer's Le Pliage Cage aux Oiseaux edition I made sure I didn't miss out on this edition too. This Valentine's edition is a slightly cheeky, girly take on love. The Le Pliage are available in three sizes, all in a white pinky shade named Girl. What I love most about this edition is the all black leather. The bags also feature the standard gold hardware. This edition has a checklist printed on the front. Some of the phrases are embroidered while others are simply printed on. A red pin is provided separately and can be pinned at any box you like best. The back of the bag features an xoxo print where the O's are replaced by hearts made of felt.

Despite being all too tempted to also pick out the silk scarf  from the same collection I resisted and opted only for the Le Pliage in L with the long handles. 

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Collection available on Longchamp, in stores and at Buzzano.
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